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Tours > Monastic Yorkshire > Wensley Church

Wensley Church
Two miles southwest of Leyburn

Wensley Church The capital of Wensleydale has an elegant little church dedicated to the Holy Trinity, standing proud amongst a graveyard full of rabbits. The 13th century interior strikes as spacious but quite dark, hiding away the treasures it holds. The chancel has beautifully carved choir stalls of 1527, a fine ecclesiastical Flemish brass of 1395 and there are various Saxon sculptures. Monastic reclamations are not from nearby Jervaulx, but Easby Abbey, near Richmond, where the Scrope family of Bolton Castle held an interest: The supposed wooden reliquary of St. Agatha looks more like a offerings box, but the Scrope family screen is an excellent survival. 

The Scrope ScreenThis latter object forms the entrance and backdrop to the most extraordinary of family pews. The heavy Restoration architecture of this curtained hideaway is said to have originally been the opera box of the 3rd Duke of Bolton (successor of the Scopes). Here he fell in love with, and immediately asked for the hand of Polly Peachum (alias Lavinia Bestwick), a famous actress of the time. She accepted only upon his agreement to purchase the box where the two met! It houses the heart burial of an earlier Marchioness of Winchester. The two lovers themselves rest at Old Basing in Hampshire.

The church is a regular place of worship owned by the Church of England. Free Entry, but donations welcome.

Next Stop: Aysgarth Church

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